Washington, D.C. Prosecutors accused Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens on Tuesday of "believing he was above the law" when he failed to report extravagant gifts while defense lawyers said the government skewed skimpy evidence to try to convict an honest man who was too trusting of a crooked friend.
"Without sufficient evidence, the government comes here late in the night of a good man's life and tries to brand him a criminal," defense lawyer Brendan Sullivan told jurors in closing arguments.
Prosecutor Brenda Morris countered with an accusation that a very deliberate and crafty Stevens "believed he was above the law," and "he thinks he's entitled to break the law" by taking gifts whenever it suited him.
The Senate's longest-serving Republican senator is charged with lying on Senate financial disclosure forms about $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts he received from his friend, millionaire Bill Allen. If convicted, Stevens, 84, faces up to five years in prison on each of seven charges, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he probably would receive much less prison time or be put on probation.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations today. The 12-member panel must be unanimous to find Stevens guilty.